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Old 08-22-2013, 03:00 PM   #197
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RanCarr, your description of RV'ing sounds very exhausting. Drive, stop on pavement, eat low quality food, rest, sleep, start all over again. I know life is about choices and particular likes, wants and needs, but I RV to get away from pavement, noise and the grind of day in and day out life. I know, I know, to each their own LOL!
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Old 08-22-2013, 03:40 PM   #198
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We seem to have gone in a very different direction than the topic of the original post in this thread.
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Old 08-22-2013, 03:44 PM   #199
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We seem to have gone in a very different direction than the topic of the original post in this thread.
No bashing here. I think it is safe to say that KOA franchise owners in general, charge a premium for the services that they offer. I also think it safe to say that not all RVers desire to purchase those services and amenities.
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Old 08-22-2013, 05:54 PM   #200
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I think we have beat this horse to death...
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Old 08-22-2013, 06:28 PM   #201
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I think we have beat this horse to death..
Sadly, you're right. For every iRV2 member who reads the thread, I think you will have just as many stories of personal experiences at KOA. Some portion of those will be positive experiences, and some portion of those will be negative experiences.

Please do not misunderstand for I am not complaining here, but merely attempting to summarize the thread. Others have already said this (maybe in different words)....In this economy, the consumer speaks with their dollars. As long as people pay as high as $100 per night for all of the mandatory add-ons at any brand of establishment, then there will be business owners who will post such prices.

------MUSING BEGINS-----
In the 1960s, my parents converted a school bus, and then built their own home-made truck camper. Both were sufficient for primitive style camping at state and national parks. At that time the Golden Eagle card was not restricted to the disabled and the aged, so my parents bought one and we lived for my dad's whole 13 weeks vacations in the National Park campgrounds--three years in a row because he had saved up his extended vacations from U.S. Steel Corp.

In 1999, my wife and I bought our very first RV (and have traded 7 times since). Our purpose in getting into RVing was to have an economical outlet for our young family. For the first 5 years, it seemed to work for our intended purpose. However since then, the RV has become a burden. Instead of gaining enjoyment from it, I dread the monthly payment combined with the thought that for the past two years we have used it at a rate of 3 nights each year. Now, RVing has a new definition in my mind: Money Pit.

In 2001, our 3rd RV was a class A motor home. It was a Georgie Boy Pursuit built on a Ford F-53 chassis. I tweeked that suspension with gadgets to make it handle better but nothing made it right. Maybe I made the mistake of comparing my F-53 to my former occupation, driving Eagle tour buses over the road. But my ownership of a class A motor home, quite frankly, made me extremely disappointed with the industry in whole. Today, I have two full-time jobs...one of them is full-time for June and July and part time the rest of the year...driving 45' MCI tour buses. I can never again in my life, ever purchase another class A motor home unless it is a motor coach conversion on MCI, Prevost, or Eagle as none other compare in any way, shape or form.

------MUSING ENDS-----

Well I suppose that I've gone off on a rant... I sincerely apologize for that. I guess the underlying theme is the affordability of Camping and RVing.
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Old 08-22-2013, 07:37 PM   #202
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I think we have beat this horse to death...
I prefer to think of it as exploring the many options ad infiniteum.

More seriously, this thread reaffirms that it is possible to have different viewpoints and not be disagreeable over them.
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Old 08-23-2013, 02:42 AM   #203
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RanCarr, your description of RV'ing sounds very exhausting.
You're confusing a trip with RVing. Don't confuse the two. We're looking to get where we're going, not to camp and dawdle along the way. Once we get to our destination in FL we set up and can relax for the next 3 months. If we're going on a longer trip, like to upstate NY let's say, we do stay at CGs some nights. The last time we took that trip we spend 2 days/nights at a KOA near Hagerstown MD. But we don't wander around sight-seeing in the areas we go through. We usually have a destination in mind. Now when we take the cross-country trip, hopefully next year, it'll be different. We will meander and stop to see things like Yellowstone Park and other goodies.

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Drive, stop on pavement, eat low quality food, rest, sleep, start all over again.
The pavement doesn't bother me. I'm passing through, not camping. Rotisserie chicken and potato salad or salad is "low quality" food? We don't eat t-bone steak because we don't care for beef. We don't eat veal for the same reason. What would you suggest is higher quality? Neither of us feels like cooking and cleaning up after a day on the road. I don't dutch-oven cook.

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I know life is about choices and particular likes, wants and needs, but I RV to get away from pavement, noise and the grind of day in and day out life. I know, I know, to each their own LOL!
You're confusing going from point A to point B with "camping" and RVing. Like I said, on a really long trip, we will stop at a CG for reasons already mentioned,.. and one time we did just to lay around and rest up in a beautiful area of MD for a few days.
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Old 08-23-2013, 04:10 AM   #204
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We prefer wooded parking spots to asphalt even overnight and frequent the State Parks as much as possible. Sometimes it isn't. I'm not at all opposed to Wal-Mart parking overnight where it is legal - and safe. Not all Wal-Marts are located in places where I would feel safe overnight and that is important to us.
You got that right... one place we were going to spend the night, and it was already dark (it gets dark early in winter), was so creepy we decided to drive down I-75 to the next town. The small strip mall was in a warehouse/factory district and the individuals walking around the stores looked like escapees from Sing Sing and Creedmore - if you get my drift. The next WalMart was in sight of I-75, well lit and patrolled by 2 security guards in an electric cart. The store was doing a brisk business by normal looking Wally-Worlders.

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Yep, I'm a senior. After having done it as many times as I have, dutch oven cooking doesn't seem like a difficult exercise energy wise. Unless you do the wrong kind of dish, a properly seasoned dutch oven cleans up quickly with a little hot water and a cleaning pad - never any soap. There is no reason that the dutch oven output cannot be put onto paper or plastic plates if that is what you want.
We spend 2 nights on the road on the way to FL. It's not just the hours on the road that are so tiring but the getting everything loaded for the trip the few days before we leave - the food, the clothes, the toiletries, the cat's supplies, bedding and on and on. This includes cleaning the refrigerator the night before. And then the last minute things before we even leave the house in the morning. We're up at 6 AM taking care of last minute things I don't think you have to worry about. Or at least you haven't mentioned. We have to shut the water off, make sure all the trash receptacles in the house are emptied, all the plants watered as the water-girl doesn't come for the first week, the toilets flushed. Windows and doors are double checked to make sure they're locked. Timers rechecked. WiFi and Satellite TV stuff loaded. Cats fed, watered and their litter boxes cleaned, put in their carriers and taken out to the TV. DH checks the air pressure in the tires again... that's 8 tires. More, but you get the idea. By the time we're out of the driveway and on the road, it's 10 or 11 AM and we're already a bit tired - after all, we're closing in on 70 so we're no spring chickens. By the time we get past Atlanta, we're ready to park, rest, eat and sleep. It's dark already in Dec. Believe me, even if it takes only 15 or 20 minutes to make a top quality meal in a dutch oven, neither of us would want to bother. A fire would still have to be made which means wood would have to be brought or bought somewhere. Food prepared (peeled, chopped whatever), cooked, watched.... and whatever wasn't disposable, washed or cleaned. Some of us just don't want the bother. I have all winter to cook, both inside and outside on the grill.

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We drove from Gaffney, SC. to the West side of Jackson, MS (600 miles) in one day, including going through Atlanta in the rain. At the end of that day, we found a neat little CG called Askew Landing that we had to get to over a one lane road that crossed the breastwork of a dam in the dark. (it was November). I fired up the grill and cooked both chicken and pork chops (the former was for the next night so we didn't have to stop and buy anything).
What did you do that morning before you hit the road? Did you put in 4 or 5 hours of last minute chores? If so, then you're a miracle man to still have the energy to start a fire, prepare and cook dinner and clean up afterward, even if it's only a few items after driving for 11 or 12 hours. The second night on the road we're not quite as wiped out. We find a place as close to I-75 as possible and repeat the night before. We've also met some very nice RV people in the WM lots. But basically all we want to do is decompress and rest because the next day we get to the Resort and have to set up, hook up, hook up the wifi and Sat dish, make the cats and ourselves comfortable and SLEEP the rest of the day!!!! So now maybe you can see why we're not interested in cooking and watching a sunset or socializing with other campers.... or care if grass or pavement is under our wheels. If we did pull into a CG we would do the exact same thing with the exception of first stopping at a WM anyway to get dinner, then hit the CG, get in my flannel jammies and stretch out with a book then go to sleep. We all do what suits us best under the circumstances.

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I even set up the DirecTv dish on the ground while I was cooking so we could watch the news. I believe that some level of physical activity after sitting to drive for more than 10 hours helps me to unwind and sleep better. The Wal-Mart in Jackson is not somewhere that I would have been comfortable passing the night. The next morning, the difference between the warmer water on the Askew Landing ponds and the colder air produced some wonderful effects and I've treasured the pictures that I took ever since. We would not have had the same experience with a different overnight choice.
I agree. So even though you're only spending the night, after 11 or more hours of driving.... you not only prepare a meal, but start a fire, cook and set up the Sat dish? I say *MORE POWER TO YOU!*
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Old 08-23-2013, 04:14 AM   #205
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Well I suppose that I've gone off on a rant... I sincerely apologize for that. I guess the underlying theme is the affordability of Camping and RVing.
It's a lot more affordable if you boondock as much as possible and avoid CGs when you can.
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Old 08-23-2013, 06:55 AM   #206
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It's a lot more affordable if you boondock as much as possible and avoid CGs when you can.
There is no question that not paying CG fees can save some money. If your goal is solely to get point from point A to point B as quickly as you can, you certainly have a lot more work to accomplish it than I would tolerate.

We have preparations to do, too, before we leave. But good checklists and having things in order a couple of weeks in advance makes the last minute requirements a lot less intrusive than your description.

We opted for a propane grill for the RV. That means that cooking setup consists of removing it from the compartment, putting it on the stand and connecting the little gas bottle. A quick thump of the igniter and I'm ready for the food. For the dutch oven, it is charcoal. We have a "chimney" type starter where you pour the brickettes into the top, stuff a piece of wadded up newspaper in the bottom and put a match to it. About 8 minutes later, the brickettes are spread under and on top of the oven and the oven temp quickly comes up to 350 degrees or more, depending on how may brickettes I use. There are a lot of great "one pot" recipes so that the oven is all I have to clean up if we use disposable dishes It is a lot less work that your interpretation suggests.

I agree that it is easy to confuse "camping" (which some claim can only be done in the wilderness in a tent) with "RVing" (which I have always equated with parking on concrete in an open area devoid of trees) and "traveling" (which in your description is simply driving a long distance in a vehicle with a bed and a toilet). The OP did not appear to be interested in the latter. The truth is probably that there are so many variations among the 3 major categories that I listed that it is very hard to compare one of those variations with another.

My point in going into as much detail as I have is to allow those who feel driven off by the high costs of the KOAs to think about alternatives and some of those variations rather than simply parking or selling their RV. As you have pointed out, it is possible to be on the road and not spend a fortune for a CG every night. But there are tradeoffs. It is possible, IMHO, to find CGs that offer the very basic services, fewer amenities and still be able to do some or even many of the things that many people would associate with an RV. I, too, would probably give up the RV lifestyle if the only alternative was to constantly stay in places like Ft. Wilderness. I've found the the higher cost CGs often come with more rules and restrictions. State Parks seem to offer a happy medium - more space in between sites (not always), fewer rules and more shaded areas at lower costs. Of course, few of them have wifi, 50amp electric and swimming pools which seem to be "musts" for some people with RVs. I think it is possible to have a great experience without all of those extras.

I guess I'm just a social animal. One of the other posters suggested that one of the things he liked was sitting in a Wal-Mart parking lot and watching others drive to work. I'd much rather have had a chance to talk with some of those others and don't feel comfortable just striking up a conversation with any Wal-Mart shopper. In a CG, however, there seems to be a lot more willingness to be social. I respect those who prefer to be by themselves but often a few friendly words will turn into an exchange of information or a much longer conversation. We've met a lot of great people that way. I was impressed by the great feeling of camaraderie among those at the Sturgis bike rally. Everyone seemed willing to talk to everyone and to share information about their common love of Harleys. Given a chance, many RVers seem to operate the same way. I'd miss that if I were constantly confined to an asphalt parking lot.
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Old 08-23-2013, 09:01 AM   #207
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RanCarr, Thank you for your explanation of your travels. I agree 100% if you are going from point A to B spending a couple of nights at WMarts etc. isn't such a bad idea. My confusion of equating RV'ing and camping with traveling with a camper, which by the way offers the very nice benefit of pulling off the road and sleeping in your own bed.

Back on topic to KOA's, if enough people weren't using them they wouldn't be in business today. They obviously have fine tuned a niche market in the wide world of camping which is very broadly defined to become a major player in the industry and the franchise market. I prefer going elsewhere, but if every body was like me this would be a very scary world, Yikes!
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Old 08-23-2013, 09:09 AM   #208
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I have read most of this thread and would like to and something that just drives me nuts. The National Parks in Canada require reservations in order to insure you get a spot.
If you reserve on line you are charged an additional $12. Does this make sense. Can somebody explain to me why? The Dufus at the camp ground couldn't.
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Old 08-23-2013, 09:11 AM   #209
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I have read most of this thread and would like to and something that just drives me nuts. The National Parks in Canada require reservations in order to insure you get a spot.
If you reserve on line you are charged an additional $12. Does this make sense. Can somebody explain to me why? The Dufus at the camp ground couldn't.
Overhead associated with online credit card processing?
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Old 08-23-2013, 09:46 AM   #210
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Overhead associated with online credit card processing?
Credit card processing cost is usually 2.5 to 3 percent, so $12 sounds excessive. It could be partly that, and also the cost of using a third party reservation system. A lot of State parks in the US use reserveamerica.com. Off hand I can't remember if they charge a separate fee.
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